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Atkins listening and learning

Atkins is soaking it all in at AFL level. - Geelong Cats,Tom Atkins
Atkins is soaking it all in at AFL level.

FORMER Geelong midfield stalwart Tom Atkins has his sights set on cracking the Cats line-up as a small forward to seize his long-awaited chance at AFL level.

The former VFL Cats captain and two-time best and fairest winner has gone from VFL development squad member to the Cats’ senior list in five years of football and is ready to seize his chance with both hands.

Atkins told the Geelong Advertiser some senior Cats had taken him under their wings.

“I have found it really good, the boys are unreal down here,” Atkins said.

“Hawk and Dal and Gary Rohan are very experienced and are always letting me know where I’m at and talking to me, so it has been good.”

Atkins out on track.

The tough inside mid has added forward craft to his game to make the grade at the top level.

“I played as a high forward in the VFL for a little bit but with the new rules in the AFL there are some little things they want me to do differently than what I have previously done, so I have just been learning those and trying to implement those when we have match simulation,” Atkins said.

“But I just want to keep trying to improve and obviously as we get closer to JLT matches, training will get more and more like a match set-up, so I just want to try to do the things the coaches are telling me to do.

“If I was given the chance I would just try to implement what I have been learning and try to help the team as much as I can, but I know I am competing with a lot of good players for that spot, so I am keen to put my hand up and if I get an opportunity it would be great, but we will just have to wait and see.”

Atkins said the feeling in the locker room is a positive one, and he has enjoyed walking into the upbeat environment.

“From the start you can tell there is a bit of belief and from the top down the expectations are pretty high on how we are going to go this year,” he said.

“That is how it should be and certainly you have to believe that you can take it to the top and the way we are training, if we can implement what the coaches want us to do, then we should have very high belief in ourselves.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs